- This Week’s Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado … Ricky Carmichael will pilot Chassis No. 16 from the Turner Motorsports stable in Friday night’s season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250. Built new last season, this is the same Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado Carmichael drove to a fifth-place finish last fall at Talladega Superspeedway.
- A New Era … The 2011 NASCAR season-opener will mark the start of a new era for Turner Motorsports. The team has expanded in 2011 from a two-truck NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) operation to become the largest stand-alone multi-series team in NASCAR’s top-tier touring series, fielding three entries in the NCWTS and four entries in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS).
- Daytona by the Numbers … Ricky Carmichael will make his third NCWTS start at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) in the NextEra Energy Resources 250. In his previous two starts at the “World Center of Racing”, the 15-time American Motorcycle Association (AMA) National Champion boasts a pair of top-six qualifying efforts. Restrictor-plate racing got the best of Carmichael in both starts leaving him with just a 24th-place result to call a career-best in Truck Series action.
- Just Getting Warmed Up … In an effort to get a head start on the 2011 season and garner a little extra seat time, Carmichael competed in last weekend’s Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA Series race at DIS. The 31-year-old driver started seventh, raced in the top five for the majority of the event, and went on the earn a personal-best fourth-place finish.
- Tough Act to Follow … Carmichael has a proud heritage at DIS and is the winningest rider in motocross history at the fabled Daytona Beach race course with a total of six overall victories. The Tallahassee, Fla.,- resident notched his first win in 125cc competition in 1998 and followed that up two years later with his first career win in the AMA’s premier class, becoming the first rider to win both a 125cc and 250cc race at Daytona. He went on to record four consecutive Supercross wins (2000-2003) to tie Jeff Stanton for the most victories and set the record three years later with a win in 2006. Carmichael has been the architect of the Daytona Supercross track since 2008. Additionally, he hosts his own amateur Supercross race at Daytona along with the Ricky Carmichael University riding school. His likeness is also enshrined on hallowed ground – the entrance to Victory Lane.
- In a Nutshell … The 2011 season will mark Carmichael’s second season competing on a full-time basis in the NCWTS. Since making his series’ debut 43 races ago at DIS, the 31-year-old driver has gone on to earn three top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. Over those same 43 races, Carmichael has logged a 13.9 average start, a 16.7 average finish, completed 91.9 percent of the laps run and earned just over $500,000 in purse money.
- New Wrench on the Box … NASCAR veteran Mark Rette will assume the role of crew chief for Carmichael’s NCWTS sophomore campaign. Rette has a wealth of experience including stints at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Roush Fenway Racing. Rette earned the 2009 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship with driver Justin Lofton where the duo combined for five poles and six wins. Most recently, Rette served as Lofton’s crew chief in the NCWTS at Red Horse Racing.
- Meet the Driver … Carmichael will meet race fans and sign autographs Friday afternoon at the Chevrolet display from 1 – 1:30 p.m. The Chevy display is located outside Turn 4, adjacent to the SPEED stage, in the speedway’s midway. Later that afternoon, from 4 – 5 p.m., he will participate in the NCWTS driver’s autograph session in the Sprint FANZONE.
- See the Monster Energy Silverado … The Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado show truck will make four stops in the Daytona Beach area during Speedweeks. On Wednesday, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., the truck will visit Gate store No. 1144 located at 1001 North Woodland Blvd., in Deland. On Thursday, the No. 4 machine will make a stop at the brand-new 7-Eleven on International Speedway store at the west end of the race track from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. On Friday the truck will make two stops. The first stop is scheduled from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at K-Mart located at 1300 International Speedway Blvd. West. From 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. the truck will be displayed directly across from the track at the 7-Eleven on the corner of Fentress and International Speedway Blvd.
- Up to Speed … Live coverage of The NextEra Energy Resources 250 from Daytona International Speedway will be televised on SPEED Fri., Feb. 18 beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 128. Qualifying for the first of 25 races on the 2011 NCWTS calendar will be televised live on SPEED Thurs., Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. EST.
RICKY CARMICHAEL QUOTES
What would it mean for you to win at Daytona?
“I think about it every time I go down there. Personally, I’ve had a lot of success on two wheels at Daytona. I can’t even describe what I would mean to possibly be the first guy to win on two wheels and on four wheels at Daytona. There’s so much history at that race track. I want to win there and go to Victory Lane so bad. It’s not possible to put into words what that would mean to me.”
You’ve had some success on superspeedways with a limited number of starts. You started seventh and finished fifth in the truck race at Talladega last year so that has to give you some confidence heading into Speedweeks.
“I’m looking forward to it. I really am. To be able to take the same Monster Energy Silverado that we raced at Talladega last year and be able to improve on it is going to make it that much better going down to Daytona. I’m very optimistic about our chances. For the most part, I run up near the front of the pack on speedways but I’ve been in a bad spot a couple of times and been a victim of circumstance. But, every time I’ve finished a superspeedway race, I’ve been easily inside the top 10. I’m looking forward to it for sure. I enjoy it.”
What’s your overall outlook for the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season?
“I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself. I made a lot of improvements last season and I want to do the same thing in 2011. There’s no reason we shouldn’t finish in the top 10 in points and I’m itching to get a race win. That’s my goal and I can’t stop thinking about it. This year will be the first time where I’m coming back with an entire season under my belt so I’m expecting big things from myself. Knowing what I know from last year, I feel like I can make a lot of improvements. I have a lot of confidence in myself, in my team and in our equipment to where I can get the job done and be able to turn some heads. We’ve got great equipment so it’s all on me and I like having that responsibility. To be able to get Turner Motorsports its first win would be awesome. I feel like I owe that to Steve Turner.”
You’ve been with Turner Motorsports from the very beginning. How has the team progressed in the last year?
“It’s amazing how much Steve Turner wants to win and the effort he puts forth so these teams can do that. The man is dedicated … there is no doubt. He gave me a great opportunity and as I look back on it that decision, it was a no-brainer. I’m very blessed and happy to be a part of it. I want to do my best and try my hardest for him and the entire organization.”
Monster Energy has been very loyal to you over the last several years. How satisfying is it for you, personally, to have such a high-profile sponsor in your corner?
“I’m very fortunate to have Monster Energy’s support and backing. They followed me when I first got into four-wheel racing three years ago. Obviously, we were very dominant together in the motocross world and they stayed with me when I retired from that. Monster has a lot of confidence in me. It’s a great program and we’ve been together forever. I really value my relationship with them and they do the same for me. As much as I want to get a win for Steve Turner, I want to get that first win for everyone at Monster. They’ve won in every other sport where they participate except for NASCAR so I want to be the guy who gets them their first win. Monster is a winning company and they stand behind their athletes. I’m very thankful to be part of the Monster Army.”
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About Turner Motorsports: Turner Motorsports, LLC, established in 1999, is in the midst of its sophomore season of NASCAR competition. Owned by Texas-native, Steve Turner, the organization has expanded in 2011 from a two-truck operation in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) to become the largest stand-alone multi-series team in NASCAR’s top-tier touring series. Turner Motorsports operates out of an 110,000 square-foot state-of-the art facility in Mooresville, N.C., and will house three entries in the Camping World Truck Series and four entries in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team boasts an all-star driver line-up that includes Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jason Leffler, Reed Sorenson, Justin Allgaier, Ricky Carmichael, James Buescher and Brad Sweet. The Chevrolet-backed team has created alliances with General Motors’ powerhouse teams Hendrick Motorsports, which will provide engine support for both its NNS and NCWTS programs, Kevin Harvick Inc. for body and aero support, and Earnhardt Technology Group for drive train and suspension technology assistance. Turner Motorsports’ marketing partners include Dollar General, Great Clips, Monster Energy, BRANDT, Rexall, Exide, AccuDoc Solutions, Wolfpack Rentals, Fraternal Order of Eagles and ABF Freight. For more information on Turner Motorsports, visit www.turnermotorsportsllc.com.